Written by Percy Pantopod this play is about a small town club committee being taken over one by one by rhinoceroses. This bizarre story stands alongside the many other classics which all salute the theatre of the absurd. Heavily based on Eugene Ionesco's original masterpiece Rhinoceros , this too could be read and interpreted as a response and criticism to the sudden upsurge in totalitarianism , taking place in both fascist and communist states.
Pantopod's adaptation clearly mirror's Eugene's plot, except for the fact it focuses on committee members of a small town social club who , with the exception of one called Naismith , metamorphose into belligerent and bullying rhinoceroses. In one scene the following conversation takes place :
Naismith : My God man whatever's the matter with your skin ?
Rhinoman : Can't you leave my skin alone ? I certainly wouldn't to change it for yours
Naismith : It's gone like leather
Rhinoman : That makes it more solid. It's weatherproof. It's insult proof. Barbed words and pointed remarks don't affect me.
Naismith : But your skin is a horrible battleship grey
Rhinoman : It matches the colour of my hair. Why it's a colour that goes with anything.It's beautifully neutral.
Naismith : But what about that protruding horn on the top of your head ?
Rhinoman : It's a visible symbol of my power and strength. Something that makes ordinary club members toe the line and show us respect.
Naismith : Surely you don't consider this transformation as being natural ?
Rhinoman : What could be more natural than a rhinoceros
Naismith : Yes, but for a committee member to turn into a rhinoceros is abnormal beyond question
Rhinoman : Well, that sir , is a matter iof opinion on which we must disagree.
In Pantopod's play, once the rhinoceroses get firmly established onto the committee, they proceed to trample through any remaining protocols and procedures. In another scene the author shows us the transformation of an committee member into a beast, who knows he must " move with the times ". Familiar arguments are marshalled on behalf of the rhinoceros : " It's just a question of personal preference. One must make an effort to understand. To understand is to justify. " In the final scene, the one remaining ordinary committee member is forced to acknowledge his fate in that that defiance means certain death.
Indeed , this rather alarming and dark play is nothing more than a commentary on the absurdity of the Human condition made tolerable only by delusion. The Day Of The Rhinos shows us yet again the struggle of the individual to maintain his integrity and identity in a world where others have succumbed to the " beauty " of brute force, natural energy, and mindlessness.